Plastic Straws have become a hot topic of conversational in recent months due to the impact that single-use plastic is having on the environment. While this is GREAT for the environment, as a parent, it had left me scratching my head for suitable plastic straw alternatives for kids! We all know kids love straws and at times they can be a life send, it’s the material the straws are made from that’s the issue and not their functionality.
Plastic Straw Alternatives
So what is the problem with plastic straws? Plastic waste in general is a huge problem for the environment. Plastic does not biodegrade. Nearly every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in the environment somewhere. Unless it’s been burnt, but this too is extremely bad, as toxic fumes are released into the atmosphere. If it hasn’t been burnt though, it’s still here! While plastic in general is not great for the environment, the main issue really lies with single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are those items that we as consumers use once then throw away, or recycle then throw in the bin. Plastics life is not complete until it has been brought to landfill, where it will sit and deteriorate for hundreds of years.
Plastic Straws are single-use plastic, they can be made from a number of different types of plastics, however, they are all made from non-biodegradable plastics. Plastic straws are primarily made from Polypropylene and Polystyrene. While the chemical composition of these plastics is different, and they are produced in different ways all plastic straws come from non-biodegradable materials.
What can we use instead?
There are a number of great options for eco-friendly alternatives to Plastic Straws for Kids! There are stainless steel straws, silicone straws, glass straws as well as paper straws! These all have their benefits as well as their downfalls. Stainless steel straws are great, they are exceedingly durable and have a very long life cycle. They can be cleaned in the dishwasher or by hand with a quick scrub of some warm soapy water.
The downside is that they don’t bend which makes them a bit harder for younger kids to drink out of, and if dropped on a hard surface they could be more likely to bend. Stainless steel straws are also not suitable for hot beverages as they can be too hot to touch, and can result in a burn.
Silicone straws are flexible and able to be bent easily. This is fantastic for small hands who may struggle with regular straws, or if a child is having trouble with their motor skills. They are easy to clean in the dishwasher, or by rinsing with warm soapy water after use. The downside to silicone straws is that they can wear out a bit quicker than other straws and can absorb flavours.
Glass straws may seem like a good option but there are a number of issues with them. Glass Straws are not very durable. They can crack if dropped on concrete or at the bottom of a bag. They also tend to get very hot in warm beverages, and be too cold for some drinks such as smoothies or milkshakes. Cleaning glass straws is not particularly easy as they are prone to breaking if placed in the dishwasher.
Paper straws are the last straw option we will discuss today, and they are by far the easiest to use and clean! Paper straws require no dishwasher or hand washing. They come wrapped individually so they can be kept in a pocket or lunchbox ready for use at any time. The cleaning of paper straws is easy, simply dispose of them into your recycling bin at the end of their life cycle.
Paper straws have a number of advantages over other straw options. They are durable, paper is strong and can be used multiple times before it wears out. Paper straws are also very thin so they can fit into drinks bottles and beverage cans, whereas other straws may get in the way of the drink you want to take on your travels.
Paper Straw Options
So what are some of the popular paper straw options? There is the disposable option that we will start with. When I say disposable, this doesn’t mean they are not recyclable. You certainly will be able to recycle them at your local council, they just won’t last as long in your recycling bin compared to the other options.
These straws come individually wrapped and are very easy to carry with you on the go. Perfect for kids who like to take their own drinks in a lunchbox or have one of those fancy drinks bottles that stay sealed until you want a drink. They are very easy to keep clean, simply throw away!
Another popular option is the reusable version of these straws. This is fantastic because you can then reuse these straws as many times as you like. The downside to reusable straws is that they do need to be cleaned regularly, however, this is very easy to do.
These reusable paper straws are great for kids because the straw can be easily bent into shape for smaller or more clumsy hands. The length of the paper straw is also a perfect proportion for kids sized glasses and tumblers, which most other styles of reusable straws may not fit. This can be a great option for kids who drink out of glasses or tumblers.
For kids who like to have their drinks in a bottle, there are also reusable straws with an attachment. This can be a great way to get them interested in using the reusable straws, as they won’t have to worry about bending the straw while trying to drink from their drink bottles.
The attachment on this straw is very easy to use and allows you to change between different sizes of drinking bottles without any problems.
So there you have it, a whole host of straw options, to suit a variety of different needs. It is very easy to create positive change, choosing to use one of these types of reusable straws will help you take small steps towards reducing the impact that single-use plastic has on our environment! So next time you are out and about ask yourself, Do I really need that straw?
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article please leave me a comment below and share it on social media or with a friend.